Austin360 On The Record: Erin Ivey returns after 7-year absence
Austin360 On The Record is a weekly roundup of new, recent and upcoming releases by local and Austin-associated recording artists.
OUT THIS WEEK
Erin Ivey, “Solace in the Wild.” A brief detour up front: When we asked Ivey a few days ago if there was a song from “Solace in the Wild” available online to embed with our review of her album, she mentioned that radio stations had been playing the third track, but she seemed hesitant to personally pick one song to showcase above the others. It brought to mind how songwriters sometimes feel their songs are like children, and that it can be hard to favor one over the others.
With “Solace in the Wild,” that would be entirely understandable, because all 10 of these tracks really do have their own distinct magic and personality. In a streaming age when singles are king, “Solace” succeeds first and foremost because it’s so consistently strong from start to finish.
“Lost Girl” is an attention-grabbing opener, with a beguiling melody that pirouettes between Ivey’s lithe vocals and Peter Stopschinski’s eloquent piano until finally her voice defies gravity and floats toward the skies. It’s one of three tracks Ivey wrote with album producer Chuck Pinnell, along with the uplifting second track “Joy” and the darker-themed “Jealousy.” Here's "Lost Girl":
The aforementioned third track, “Where Have You Been All My Life,” is the love song its title suggests, but with some crunching electric guitar from Rich Brotherton and steady beats from drummer Steve Schwelling that provide ballast for Ivey’s alluring lead vocal and harmonies from Noelle Hampton and Dan Dyer.
“Dust Bowl” is about that historic event (Ivey says she wrote it after watching a Ken Burns documentary) and echoes the old-school folk tradition of Woody Guthrie’s ballads from that era.
Her rendition of Irving Berlin’s classic “Blue Skies” is minimally arranged (Pinnell’s acoustic guitar and Kris Afflerbaugh’s upright bass only) but spectacular, contrasting the song’s bright lyrics with darker shades in its tempo and feel.
Ivey wrote “Charleston” after the 2015 church shooting in that South Carolina town, but its key line — “It is for the good not to be silent” — endures today in ways she could not have imagined at the time.
"Ca Ira (Si Vous Voulez)," a prayerful interlude sung in French, prefaces “Honest Man,” which feels like a bookend to opener “Lost Girl” in the way it highlights the pure beauty of Ivey’s voice, but this time with exquisite fiddling from Warren Hood added.
“Oh I Get to Know You” is a playful, minute-long, a cappella coda — “a palate cleanser after the lush orchestrations of the rest of the album,” as Ivey puts it. Her first record in seven years, “Solace in the Wild” is a welcome return from a singer-songwriter whose artistry recalls the work of renowned former locals Kat Edmonson and Sarah Jarosz. This is Grammy-level stuff.
Album-release livestream 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 29, on Ivey’s Facebook page.
The Watters, “Intuition.” The third album from the husband-and-wife team of Jenna and Daniel Watters since they moved to Austin in 2015 is their strongest yet. A highly polished 11-song set of soulful Americana, “Intuition” features contributions from some of Austin’s best musicians, including fiddler Warren Hood, Greyhounds keyboardist Anthony Ferrell, Band of Heathens keyboardist Trevor Nealon, and drummer JJ Johnson and trumpeter Ephraim Owens from Tedeschi Trucks Band. Jenna Watters’ voice is the main attraction, radiant with bluesy energy and brassy bravado. Producer Daniel Watters shares the spotlight on guitar and harmonies, taking lead vocals on a couple of tracks. The subtle, dreamlike “Go Home” is a nice change of pace to close the album. Here’s the video for the second track, “Deja Vu”:
FEB. 5: Curtis McMurtry, “Toothless Messiah”
FEB. 5: Sun June, “Somewhere” (Run for Cover)
FEB. 5: Scott Ballew, “Talking to Mountains”
FEB. 5: Parker Woodland, “The World’s on Fire (and We Still Fall in Love”) EP
FEB. 12: Paul Leary, “Born Stupid” (Shimmy Disc/Joyful Noise)
FEB. 12: Beth Lee, “Waiting on You Tonight”
FEB. 12: Cari Hutson, “Salvation & Soul Restoration” EP
FEB. 19: Edie Brickell & New Bohemians, “Hunter & the Dog Star” (Thirty Tigers)
FEB. 19: Geoff Bradford, “Texas Psychedelic” EP
FEB. 26: Willie Nelson, "That's Life" (Legacy)
FEBRUARY: Riders Against the Storm, “Flowers for the Living”
MARCH 19: Nuevo, self-titled (Nine Mile)
MARCH 24: Leti Garza, “Border Land” EP
APRIL 2: Zach Person, self-titled (Blackdenim).
APRIL 9: Balmorhea, “The Wind” (Deutsche Grammophon)
OTHER AUSTIN360 ON THE RECORD ROUNDUPS IN JANUARY: